A report was submitted by the school district officials of the state of Oklahoma that the third-graders in the district, experienced panic attacks, anxiety issues and some of them cried, while some became physically ill, when they came to know that they will have to take up a state-mandated reading test. Also, encouragement was given by parents and teachers to comfort the children and they took the responsibility of lifting the students, who were preparing for the test for the first time.
The students felt further stress, when it was informed that students not scoring to the satisfaction will be held back, unless they meet certain exclusions for some good cause or until, they show their power to read at the second-grade or higher level. Principal Lee Ronald of the Tulakes Elementary in the Putnam City School District stated that we were not able to remove the fear from the minds of the third graders, just because they know the reality that they cannot get through this grade, if they do not perform well in the state-mandated reading examination.
April 10-23 was the window for the pencil and paper test and the State Education Department has stated that they need the scores by the 9th of May 2014. Records show that more than 3500 third-graders in the Oklahoma City School District took the reading test.
A teacher, who trained the students for the test, said that her students showed an air of confidence before taking up the test. This is because, they were made to concentrate on what they knew and what they needed to do and not on failure. She has added that her students looked like they would conquer the world. Many parents helped their children to sustain their confidence by sending letters urging them to relax and take a deep breath.
Encouragement from parents:
When teachers helped the children in facing the test with confidence, parents played their role by telling phrases that can lift the spirits of the children. For instance, one parent wrote to the child ‘happy test day’. The parent has also added encouraging and motivational words reminding their child of becoming a big fourth-grader on successful completion of the test and the child was also reminded of his summertime and play dates, swimming and sleeping late after the completion of the test. These words helped many kids to keep away from anxiety issues related to the test.
No unusual instances:
Even though, many complaints were raised against the test stating that it will create anxiety issues in children, the spokeswoman of Oklahoma City Public Schools stated that the district did not receive any reports of unusual instances of testing anxiety. She has added that it is absolutely normal to feel nervous about tests and said that the nervousness is found not only among children, but also among teachers and parents too.
Even though, some children cried and one student experienced a full-blown panic attack and some of them said that they are going to continue in the third grade itself, teachers worked hard to teach, encourage and calm their students and they were also kept informed about the consequences of scoring less.